Agrarian Crisis and Suicides in Post-Liberalized Era: The Case of Indian Punjab

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:42
Oral Presentation
Gunjan SETIA, Bhag Singh Khalsa College for Women, Kala Tibba, Abohar, India
Punjab state is known in India for its agriculture and hardworking peasantry, largely constituted of Jatt Sikhs. Green revolution of late 1960’s through 1980’s gave a major boost to agricultural production and brought radical transformation in the agrarian structure. Erstwhile peasants were transformed to farmers and subsistence agriculture suddenly was usurped by the market. Since early 1990’s, the beginning of liberal era, Punjab agriculture was suddenly further opened up to the vicissitude of global market. With the linking of Punjab agriculture to global market, the already strained agrarian relations in rural Punjab came under fresh strain. The present investigation was envisioned in the light of frequent suicides occurring in rural Punjab. The data on 100 households was collected from five villages, namely, Bhutal Khurd and Chottian from the Sangrur District and Bhundarh, Chowke and Jethuke from the district of Bathinda. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis has been carried out for the empirical evidence on the phenomenon of suicides. Many factors acting as catalysts towards suicide came to light during the investigation. These factors varied in their intensity across cases and every single case was affected with many factors simultaneously. Majority of the cases had portrayed a very complex picture with multiple interrelated, interacting stressors acting upon the situation. Two basis for their classification emerged-a) Sphere of life affected by the stressor i.e economic, psychological, demography and social; b) intensity i.e dominant role played by the factor, whether it acted as the primary, secondary or tertiary factor. Perspectives were derived after analyzing the collected data and practical solutions have been suggested to contain the epidemic.